The second annual Alternative Fuels Day, at the Ivy Tech Community College Lafayette, IN campus, held on April 4, was an event dedicated to alternative fuels and the importance of utilizing them in order to reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil supply and to increase air quality. The event was packed with well-known presenters that shared their important messages to over 250 high school students.
Kelli Walsh, Executive Director for Central Indiana Clean Cities Alliance, and Mark Olance, Ford Motor Company Field Operations Manager for Ford Hydrogen Vehicles, welcomed students in the Ivy Tech Community College’s auditorium with opening presentations.
Students then engaged in breakout sessions including a Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) seminar presented by David C. Lynch, Sales Manager for Cummins Westport, Inc. Mike Stout, a Master Technician for Chevrolet, presented the GM Two-Mode Tahoe. Also included in the breakout sessions was the opportunity for students to walk through a forty foot Two-Mode diesel hybrid bus and speak with John Metzinger, Manager of Development for CityBus as well as Chad Leamon, CityBus lead mechanic. Ryan Turner, Director of Fixed Operations for Rohrman’s Auto Group, and Rob Lawson, Manager of Toyota Service, wrapped up the breakout sessions with a discussion covering service center precautions and demonstration of a 2008 Toyota Camry hybrid. Students were permitted to look under the vehicle’s hood as well as underneath the vehicle once it was placed on Ivy Tech’s automotive laboratory lift.
Students were also given the chance to catch a glimpse of alternative fuel technology’s past as a 1912 Detroit Electric Car owned by local attorney, John Gambs, was on display. The car is in pristine condition and as Gambs demonstrated the old technology, many students admitted to thinking alternative fuel technologies were a fairly new concept.
The most popular-rated event by students was the dynamometer room where the Ford Focus hydrogen fuel cell car was strapped to the test floor and students experienced how quickly the torque came up on the electric drive. Students were also impressed with how quiet the car was and its lack of carbon emissions that was demonstrated by the five-gas analyzer fixed to the car’s exhaust. The vehicle emitted no smell and water is its only byproduct.
A career forum wrapped up the Alternative Fuels Day event with Kelli Walsh acting as panel coordinator. Panel members included Gene Cochanower, DeFouw Chevrolet Service Manager; Brian Johnson, Service Director for Mike Raisor Ford; and Ryan Turner, Director of Fixed Operations for Rohrman Toyota. The forum focused on career opportunities in the hybrid automobile field. Students were presented with Alternative Fuel Day T-shirts and each school received a variety of tool gifts for their high school automotive program from several of the event’s sponsors.
“The second annual ‘Alternative Fuels Day’ at our Lafayette campus allowed the Automotive Service Program to network with local High School Automotive programs in the five county serving area of Ivy Tech Community College,” said Eric Erskin, Ivy Tech Automotive Program Chair. “Not only were we able to provide current and relevant training on the innovations in the alternative fuel industry to high school students, but we were also able to provide Professional Development hours to the instructors as well. Students were able to attend the latest technology presentations from industry experts in the automotive field, as well as hear some advice from those same experts about the importance of academic success, staying in school, and learning the fundamentals in their high school programs,” Erskin added.
“Ivy Tech Community College is an outstanding member of the National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium. An event such as their Alternative Fuels Day geared toward High School-aged students is extremely important for the education and promotion of alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles,” said Al Ebron, NAFTC Executive Director.
For more information about Ivy Tech Community College’s Automotive Department, visit its Web site.